Archive for the ‘ Friends ’ Category

The 32 Window Coupe


One tenth of the US population goes to school every day in a big yellow 32 window coupe.

That’s about half of the US student population.

In just about every other country in the world, school buses , city buses, and mass transit buses all look the same.  But not in the US of A.

Oh, no, we’ve got to have yellow buses.

But even in the US, they weren’t always yellow.

In 1886, Wayne Works started making school hacks or kid hacks, but they were few and far between.

And they were drawn by horses or oxen or in some cases, mules.

Back in the day, most kids really did walk five miles UP hill each way in a snow storm.

Or their parents took them just like Mrs. Ingles in the Little House show.

In 1914 Wayne Works started using automobile chassis as the auto caught on in America.

The kids would climb on, and sit around the perimeter of the bus rather than facing forward.

Blue Bird started designing buses that looked more like what you see today, and in the 1930s, school buses were regulated and standardized by the government.

Prior to that, they were usually vehicles that had been modified to be used as a means to an end:  getting the rug rats to the school marm.

The rounded roof, called the California top, came along when the Gillig Brothers applied for a patent on the design.

As time moved on, safety for the kids became a greater concern.

Seems the buses weren’t all that safe!

So, just as the depression was about to end and WW II was about to start, Dr. Frank Cyr called a confab in Manhattan and the boys in power set about developing school bus standards.

Seems Frank had been coast to coast looking at school buses.  He found there were no standards, and safety did not abound.

His meeting in Manhattan consisted of representatives from all 48 states, Hawaii and Alaska having not yet been added to the union.

The result;  a slate of 44 national standards which has grown over time to over 300.

One result was that all school buses should be “national school bus glossy yellow.”  Yellow was chosen because it gets noticed faster than any other color out there.

Studies showed – seriously, there were studies – that yellow in the peripheral vision was noticed 1.24 times faster than any other color, and the boys were hoping people would notice the color quickly and stop so the kiddies could be dropped off or picked UP.

35 of the 48 states immediately dashed out and painted all their buses yellow, but it wasn’t until 1974 that all the US got on board.

In the US, you can’t buy a school bus that isn’t that color. International, Blue Bird, and the rest refuse to make them any other color for schools.

We all remember going to a ball game or school in a school bus, and while mom may have made us buckle UP, there was no way to do so on the school bus.

There still isn’t.

Only buses weighing fewer than 10,000 pounds are required to have seat belts.  The reason; it costs too much!

And the manufacturers claim the buses are already safe and added research shows adding seatbelts doesn’t make them any safer, and in some cases could actually injure kids in a crash.

The driver however has and is required to wear a seatbelt.

Go figure.

On top of all those excuses, fitting seatbelts on buses would be tricky.  Seats on a bus will carry 3 kids under seven years of age or 2 middle and high schoolers.

So, you’d have to have buses for the littles and buses for the bigs which would add about 15% to the ever burgeoning cost of school transportation.

But, hey, they’re only kids right?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claims their research, which goes back to 1987, indicates there is “…little, if any, benefit to including seatbelts in large school buses.”

And, if the kids do nothing but stay in their seats, they should be safe.

All in all, the “egg carton theory” of school buses seems to be working.  It is the number one way kids get to school in America and out of 26 million children who ride the bus to school, an average of 6 die on a yearly basis compared to the 1,000 who die walking, biking, or riding to school with mom or dad.

This post was inspired by a friend who bemoaned the fact that her child missed the bus by seconds and the snarky bus driver refused to wait.  Knowing how my mind works, she said she was awaiting a history of school buses post.  Never being one to disappoint, now you have it. 

One By One…

It is the way of man; we’re born, we grow, we live, produce, fade, and pass on.

No one escapes it, but each time someone near to me passes,  I’m reminded that one by one a generation leaves us and we become the older generation.

The oldest – at least for a time.

Friday brought another reminder, Richard Nunery, father, grandfather, and trusted family friend passed away at the age of 90.

He leaves behind four daughters, several grandchildren, and a host of friends.

His death cuts a little deeper not only because of its reminders, but because Mr. Nunery was my dad’s best friend for over 50 years.  Our families are connected by faith, the past, the future, and firm friendships that started on a snowy New Year’s Eve 1957.

There were two men who were responsible for our move to Germantown in 1957; Tom Calhoun , whom I’ll post about someday, and Richard Nunery.

Mr. Nunery was the head of the pastoral search committee when FBC Germantown was looking for a new pastor in 1957.

I’ve told the story before, but humor me, Dad came to Germantown for a week’s revival, stayed nearly three, and shortly thereafter, the church called him to be the pastor.  He held that post for over 20 years until his health got the best of him and he retired and became Pastor Emeritus  for a few.

Both men were fixtures in Germantown. Dad, the pastor, and Mr. Nunery an established insurance salesman with his own agency. In their respective ways each offered assurance and insurance to many.

Dad with the plan of salvation and assurance, and Mr. Nunery with not only the gospel, which he shared with many, but a plan for retirement, keeping families protected and secure, helped hundreds if not thousands in the town.

In a sense, they both peddled fire insurance.

At a time like this when we see a generation leaving us one by one, it reminds us of our duty to carry on their message, their beliefs, their values, and their faith.

Nature’s way of making room can be saddening, but it should bring us hope as well.

Happy Friends Day!

In most South American Cultures, today is Friends Day.

It’s a day for celebrating friendships both old and new.  It’s not all that old of a holiday; beginning in Paraguay in 1958, the idea spread throughout much of the South American Continent and eventually made its way around the world.

Of course, it’s not always celebrated on April 18; Oberlin, Ohio has its own friend’s day 10 days earlier.  I’m guessing they just read the date wrong!

And in 2011, the UN declared July 30, International Friendship Day; the South Americans would have nothing to do with it!

So it remains April 18th each year!

Initially created by the greeting card industry, the idea waned over time, but with the advent of social media, it’s seen a renewed interest.

In many places, cards, flowers, friendship wrist bands, and other tokens are provided to friends to honor the day and their relationship.

So, on this Friend’s Day, here’s a shout out to my more than 1,100 Facebook friends and the seven of you who read my blog every day!

And of course, the friends I’ve had forever…even if they’re not all here.

Happy Friend’s Day.

Daily Miracles…

This is Finley Kate Douglass, the daughter of a co-worker and friend and his wife, Jeffrey Douglass/Meredith Mauck Douglass. Finely was born at 26 weeks and weighed in at a whopping 1,5 pounds.

Miracles continue to happen with this child every day; she’s UP to 1 lb 9 ounces and is making progress. There is a Caring Bridge spot for updates, and a Go Fund Me page if you’d like to help. And of course, your prayers would be appreciated.

I contacted Jeff and Meredith and asked them to help me out with the details.

I want everyone to know about this baby, pray for this baby, and help this baby.

Below is their story thus far…

Our Story:

Meredith hadn’t been feeling as much movement from Finley all day Saturday or Sunday. so on Sunday morning, March 12th around 10:00 she decided to call her OB as she still wasn’t feeling much movement even though she had eaten a big breakfast and lay on her side for a while.

Her doctor told her to go ahead and come into L&D and get checked out to make sure everything was fine. The doctor said 90% of the time when they get these calls it turns out to be nothing but they always like to check just to make sure.

Meredith kept thinking she was overreacting and that she was going to get hooked up to the monitor and see Finley moving around like crazy.

We arrived 11:30, Mere was hooked up to the monitor and heard Finley’s precious heart beat right away so they assumed everything was fine.

About 30 minutes later the nurse came in and said it seems that your baby is “sleepy” so we are going to give you some IV fluids to see if she perks up and do an ultrasound to check her growth. A little bit of concern came over us but we were still hearing Finley’s heartbeat on the monitor so we weren’t too concerned.

After a full bag of fluids Finley didn’t perk up and the ultrasound was showing her growth at 24.5 weeks instead of 26 weeks. Their doctor came in and said that they were keeping Meredith overnight and most likely a lot longer than that.

The doctor informed us that there was definitely something going on with our little girl that wasn’t normal.

She told us that the maternal fetal specialist group that they work with was going to come and do another ultrasound to see what the blood flow through the umbilical cord looked like and recheck her growth.

During the ultrasound with the specialist Meredith knew something was really wrong. The specialist took over doing the ultrasound from the tech and looked around and then left the room. She came back a few minutes later and told the tech to just take minimum measurements and be done. The specialist doctor came back in and told us the blood flow through our little girl’s umbilical cord was reverse end diastolic flow.

They had two options on the table. 1. Wait it out and try and get at least 24 hours of steroids to help boost Finley’s lungs and development but run the risk of her passing away. 2. Go ahead and do an emergency C-section and take Finley right away. They decided to go ahead and do the emergency C-section in hopes that she would be able to grow more safely outside the womb and mitigate the risk of her passing in Meredith’s stomach.

Finley Kate Douglass was born at 5:50 PM weighing just 1.5 lbs. The NICU team took her away immediately and began their treatment. Since Finley has been born she has seen plenty of ups and downs which is pretty typical of babies born at 26 weeks.

She had a grade 4 brain bleed on day 3 which is the most severe grade of bleed. The doctors don’t know the effects of it and won’t know the full effects of it for years.

The big prayer request was for healing of the brain and for all the fluid and blood to be able to drain properly and not cause swelling in her head. Mere and Jeff We recently received news that by God’s grace there is no swelling in Finley’s head and it appears that she is healing well from the bleed. Finley continues to improve day by day and that is exciting to see.

Her lungs, stomach, and heart all seem to be getting stronger and developing well also.

God is so good and it is amazing to see His work throughout all of this.

Jeff and Meredith Douglass

Hey, it’s me again:  If you’d like to help, feel free to reach out to me via email.